Letter to Editor: Makhloufs are key allies to Assad regime

Dear Editorial Dept at the Baltimore Post-Examiner

I wanted to alert you to an article that appeared on your website on 3 June 2019, written by Jason Villafuerte Maravilla. This piece is about Mohammed Makhlouf, son of Syrian businessman Rami Makhlouf. Here is a link to the article:


Perhaps you are aware that the Makhloufs have been key allies of the Assad regime. It has been exhaustively documented that acts prohibited under international law have become routine practice in Syria, including widespread torture and death in prisons,[1] forced disappearances,[2] deliberate targeting of medical personnel and facilities,[3] starvation sieges,[4] forcible displacement of civilians,[5] and systemic rape.[6] Chemical weapons attacks have been committed by the regime on several occasions, in Douma, Khan Sheikoun, and elsewhere; the overwhelming number of victims in these attacks have been civilians.[7]

The Makhlouf family, which is related to the Assads by marriage, has played a very significant role in defining the character of the regime in Syria – here, I can refer you to Sam Dagher’s recent book, Assad or We Burn the Country, which clearly outlines the role played by the Makhloufs in the conflict.

I was dismayed to see an article praising Mohammed Makhlouf published on the website of a reputable newspaper. This piece is an attempt to normalize a brutal, corrupt regime. I do not understand how this article passed your editorial review process. This is not a news article but a PR piece for Makhlouf’s company, MRM Holdings, which stands to profit from rebuilding the cities destroyed by the Assads and their Russian allies. The credibility of your website is undermined by this piece.

I look forward to your response to my concerns about this content, and to hearing about how such a piece ended up on your website. I request that you remove the piece immediately from both web and mobile versions.

Kind regards,
Kelly Grotke